In the two decades that it has been in existence, the online casino industry has grown to become a juggernaut worth an estimated $40 billion annually in revenue, with the figure steadily rising each year. So it’s not surprising that there are literally thousands of online casinos out there, all vying for a good slice of the market.

But, with so much competition, casinos have to go to great lengths to attract new players, and a key way that they achieve this is through offering welcome bonuses. Then, once players have signed up to a particular casino, they continue to make more offers in order to encourage loyalty.

However, as with any industry, there is a minority of operators who are not 100% honest and who may offer bonuses that are either very difficult to claim, or which will never be awarded at all.

Therefore, anyone considering registering as a player on an online casino should make sure that the bonuses on offer aren’t scams and that the casino itself is legitimate. If you wanted one of the easiest ways to do this, you could just check scams.info. This is a website that has examined all of the biggest names in online casinos to ensure that they’re legitimate and that all their offers are genuine. If the casino that you’re interested in isn’t mentioned on the site it won’t necessarily mean that it’s a scam, it could be that they just haven’t got round to reviewing it yet. So you might need to do a little research yourself, and here’s what to look for.

Legitimate casinos are licensed

The first sign that an online casino will uphold the highest ethical standards is the fact that it has been officially licensed. In the UK it is The Gambling Commission that is responsible for this. A number of casinos are also licensed by the authorities in places like Malta and the Channel Island of Jersey. All have strict guidelines and failing to meet them can mean that the license is taken away. What’s more, as long ago as 2017, The Gambling Commission announced that they would be focusing on eliminating unfair or misleading bonus conditions. So you can be confident that they are always on the lookout for them today.

Genuine bonuses are believable

The old adage that, if it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t, very much applies to online casino bonuses. So if you find any promising huge welcome offers with no deposit required on your part, it’s as well to be wary. You have to look at it like this: casinos are in the business of making money so giving cash away for free is never going to happen. But that’s not to say that there aren’t some very generous, and 100% genuine, offers out there. For example, some casinos offer up to $500 or more – although it’s more often in the region of $100 to $200. The same is true about the free spins that many online casinos offer for their slots games. Beware of ones that need to be used on a very select range of games or which need a large deposit on your part before they are available.

Always read the terms and conditions

It’s only natural that bonus offers are going to come with a number of terms and conditions that need to be fulfilled in order to take advantage of them. So the first thing to look for on any online casino site is a complete list of Ts and Cs explaining all the details. If these are hard to find, or not there at all, then this should immediately arouse suspicion. The Gambling Commission in the UK has shown that they will not tolerate this kind of behavior, as well as other failings, by operators and recently issued a fine of £13 million to one company.

Within the terms and conditions there are two very important pieces of information to find. These are the wagering conditions and the expiry date of the offer. The former is multiple, in terms of money, of the bonus that need to be wagered before it can be played. These vary widely but are generally around 25 to 30 times the bonus. So, for example, with a 30 times wagering requirement and a $20 bonus is claimed it would mean that you’d have to wager a total of $600 before claiming it. You could consider this fair, but if the wagering requirement is much higher you could be being scammed.

This is especially true if there’s a very short time limit, say 24 to 48 hours to claim the bonus. In this case it would be virtually impossible to claim it.

This has been just a short guide to how to spot bonus scams, but hopefully contains enough pointers about what to look for when considering whether the incentives you’re being offered are totally above board. And remember, the vast majority of online casinos will make you genuine offers and the scammers are the exceptions, not the rule.